On September 19, the Fairfax County Manufactured Housing Task Force delivered its recommendations to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for the preservation of the county’s approximately 1,750 manufactured homes as well as tools and strategies to address the unique needs and challenges facing the community owners and families who live there.
Fairfax County is home to eight communities of manufactured homes, formerly referred to as “mobile homes.” Unlike traditional homeownership in which the property and the home is owned by a single entity, manufactured homes are typically owned by the occupant who rents the land from a separate entity. In most cases, the homes are not mobile.
“Manufactured homes provide critical affordable housing and homeownership options to individuals and families with low income,” said Eric Maribojoc, a commissioner on the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority and co-chair of the task force. “The recommendations we are putting forward incorporate a variety of strategies, policy considerations, and community engagement initiatives to preserve the affordability of these communities in the face of redevelopment and the threat of displacement, and to provide needed assistance to help the families who live there thrive.”
The Manufactured Housing Task Force was established by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in August 2021. The measure first came to the board as a recommendation from the Affordable Housing Preservation Task Force in April 2021. The work of the task force – intentionally composed of a diverse group of manufactured housing residents, community owners, housing advocates, representatives from the development community, and others – was guided by the following goals:
- Preserve, through a variety of means, the affordability of manufactured housing units and communities recognizing that each faces unique circumstances and will require a tailored approach
- Provide residents the opportunity to fully participate in and benefit from life in Fairfax County, including the policy decisions that directly impact their housing stability
- Provide residents the opportunity to learn about their rights and limitations and provide community owners the opportunity to understand their responsibilities under the law
“The pressures of redevelopment, community land sales, and rent increases are among some of the most prominent threats which can lead to the displacement of manufactured housing owners and a loss of a valuable financial asset – their homes – which often can’t simply be relocated to a new site,” said task force co-chair Soledad Portilla. “This task force combined the benefit of a vast assortment of perspectives and expertise to propose measures that would help protect these assets and enable the county to be more intentional with respect to the incorporation of these unique communities in the overall county dynamic.”
The recommendations of the task force were organized into five principal areas of focus:
- Community Outreach and Engagement: Residents should have the opportunity to be fully informed of and participate in policy decisions and opportunities that affect them and their housing stability
- Understanding Community Needs, Preserving Community Benefits: Local leaders should be informed of the needs of residents and owners of manufactured housing communities and appropriate resources provided to ensure housing stability
- Code Compliance and Community Quality: Code compliance recommendations should be aimed at enhancing resident safety and community quality
- Land Use: Land use policies and regulation should be modified to support preservation and neighborhood livability within manufactured housing communities.
- Legislation: Recommendations aimed at ensuring greater protection for manufactured housing residents should be included in the board’ legislative program
NOTE: The recommendations of the Manufactured Housing Task Force will formally be presented to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at the September 30 meeting of the board’s Housing Committee.